Covid-19 virus … more commonly referred to as Coronavirus … established November/December 2019 in China – now a Global Health Crisis, millions of people infected to varying degrees of severity, with an anticipated Global Mortality Rate of around 3.4%. Populations around the world are isolating – closing borders (both national and state) – panic buying and stockpiling food and hygiene products … is it truly the Apocalypse? … Did the Mayans get their calendar wrong by about 8 years? … Should Wilson be our only friend and contact? (sorry for the shameless ‘Castaway’ reference there) … Or is it not going to be the end of the world provided we keep our heads on level?
Now that I have your attention after an introduction like that, lets shift our focus to Selfcare – looking after ourselves, so that we can look after those we love and care about … children, ageing parents or grandparents, our community at large. It has been said time-and-time-again that if we don’t do for ourselves we can’t do for others … and of course we have touched on this valuable topic before in past blog posts … but now – let’s blend those two thoughts together so we can talk about the topic of this week’s blog - How to care for yourself while you are socially distancing and/or isolating.
What thoughts cross your mind in circumstances like this?
where will you get income from? … will you go stir-crazy? … are you scared someone will infect you? how can you stay fit? … will you have enough food? … are you scared you might infect someone else?
did any of you think about supporting your own Immune System???
My own personal opinion is that Coronavirus is not that different to most other viral infections - the common cold and flu for example – and the most important thing for individual, personal safety from infection is to observe high standards of personal hygiene (wash your hands, catch your cough, etc) AND support and boost your own immune system … look after YOU by strengthening your body’s in-built disease defence mechanisms, and it will have just as much ripple-on effect as infection can – but it will be positive ripple not negative ripple … follow me?
I don’t intend to talk about personal hygiene because it is everywhere right now – and has been for months … besides, it is something we should all be doing, all of the time – not just in times of panic.
Supporting and boosting your own immune system is definitely worth talking about though because it is something that we all seem to forget about most of the time, and it hasn’t been the poster topic for controlling the spread of any virus that I can remember.
How do we do this I hear you ask … there can be a lot of different perspectives out there, proffered by individuals wanting to preach their own beliefs and/or peddle their own products. I am not condemning or condoning any of these options, but I would like to break it down to simple, cost effective options for everyone to consider while we are all in Domestic Lock-down.
A quick google search led me to these 6 points …
Decrease stress - Increase exercise & sleep - Get sunlight, direct onto your skin Maintain good personal hygiene - Get regular massage
Now let’s flesh them out and map them into an average day as we now know it …
Decrease stress: Easier said than done for a lot of people I guess, but don’t get all heavy on those who can separate themselves from the panic and disillusionment … Separating yourself from the communal hype is not a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean you are blissfully disconnected from reality either. If nothing else, it is a sound response to support your personal mental health.
History has taught us that human reaction can shape the end game of any situation (sometimes for the better, but also sometimes not so much) … It is also widely accepted that life will find a way (thanks for that one Jurassic Park) … but worrying and panicking doesn’t help.
Stay calm and measured … trust that there is an end in sight … choose to recognise the silver lining – we all now have the time to do all the things that usually go amiss, like connecting with those we love, all the little jobs around the house, teaching our children about personal values and community respect.
Life will sort itself out in time, and we need to be ready when that time comes. Take this time to recharge your batteries, because when this is all over things are sure to be hectic for many of us, and it is that time when we will all miss the more relaxed time we have right now! Stay Calm and decrease stress to protect your mental health and support your personal immune system.
Increase exercise & sleep: Gyms are closed and you can’t even go to the park for Boot Camp anymore, but does that mean you can’t exercise? … I don’t think so … A common catch phrase of recent years has been to ‘Think outside the Box’ – so just apply that to physical activity.
According to an online medical dictionary, the definition of exercise is: “physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body.”
Physical activity can be anything from following an online PT stream, to housework, to gardening, to playing with the kids … it can be anything you choose, or even a combo of different things. Just like last weeks blog by Tash – keep your body active and moving … and maybe focus just a little bit on trying to elevate your heartrate while you are doing it.
The Government’s directive is to stay away from other people (outside your immediate household), but you can run around your back yard if you want to. I saw just today on the TV that a guy ran 42km on his balcony … boring and uninteresting maybe, but difficult times call for different measures.
I’m confident that if you utilise your recently imposed ‘free time’ to increase your physical activity, it will induce better sleep patterns, and enable you to catch your 7-8 hours/night … and maybe even a well deserved Nanna Nap in the mid-afternoon …
Get sunlight, direct onto your skin: This is all about increasing the absorption of Vitamin D through your skin, because Vitamin D is essential for your immune system … you could resort to supplements I suppose – or you could just be outside in the sun for 20-30 minutes a day … perhaps while you are gardening, or playing with the kids, or just running around in circles to get your daily cardio …
Maintain good personal hygiene: As I said earlier, there is great advice on this everywhere right now … my contribution is simply that personal hygiene should be observed all the time, not just in times of elevated risk.
Get regular massage: Some might say that I would be including this point as a shameless plug for clinic … while you are probably correct, it is actually recognised through research that regular massage supports your immune system and promotes general good health (both physical AND mental), but with Social Restrictions in place it is difficult to find qualified massage unless you are lucky enough to live with a therapist.
From that perspective – my recommendation is to do as much as you can to support and strengthen your immune system at home, and as soon as we can re-open – book in and get your massage! By the time restrictions are lifted, and we are allowed to re-open, all of us in clinic will be super rested and super eager to get back to work.